Wimbledon officials prepare for return of tennis tournament

New rules, please! Wimbledon officials prepare for return of tennis tournament with social distancing, mandatory face masks and Covid certificates after last year’s event was cancelled

  • Workers hung notices urging visitors to wear a face covering and have their ‘Covid-status certificate ready’ 
  • Certificates form part of event’s Covid-19 social distancing measures, along with mandatory face coverings
  • Shops in the southwest London town are being transformed by locals as they anticipate influx of tennis fans
  • Giant tennis balls filled 1 clothing shop’s window display – while decorative tennis rackets took over another

Wimbledon officials are preparing for the return of the tennis tournament by putting up social distancing signs as they prepare to welcome an influx of eager fans from Monday.

Workers were seen hanging notices urging visitors to wear a face covering and have their ‘Covid-status certificate ready’ before going into the iconic venue for this year’s Championship.

The certificates – which will either show a negative Covid test or proof of double vaccination – form part of the event’s Covid-19 social distancing measures.

Other rules include the mandatory wearing of face coverings in all areas, expect when eating or drinking.

Meanwhile, shops in the southwest London town are being transformed as they anticipate an influx of tennis fans from across the country for the Championship, which was cancelled last year due to Covid.

Giant tennis balls filled one clothing shop’s window display – while decorative tennis rackets and balloons in Wimbledon colours took over another.

Wimbledon’s singles matches begin on Monday, June 28. The doubles draws then kick off on June 30 – with mixed doubles not starting until July 2.

The tournament’s finals weekend – on July 10 and 11 – will welcome full houses after the Government boosted capacities to an assortment of summer sports events.

Wimbledon officials are preparing for the return of the tennis tournament by putting up social distancing signs (pictured) as they prepare to welcome an influx of eager fans from Monday 

Workers were seen hanging notices urging visitors to wear a face covering and have their ‘Covid-status certificate ready’ before going into the iconic venue for this year’s Championship

Shops in the southwest London town are being transformed as they anticipate an influx of tennis fans from across the country

Giant tennis balls filled one clothing shop’s window display – while decorative tennis rackets and balloons in Wimbledon colours (pictured) took over another

The rest of the tournament will operate at 50 per cent capacity – the same ratio that will permit 40,000 fans into Wembley for the Euro 2020 last-16 match there, plus the semi-finals and finals.

The relaxations came as a sweetener amid the bitter pill of Boris Johnson’s announcement that ‘Freedom Day’ of June 21 was postponed for four weeks.

Rugby League’s Challenge Cup final, the Open golf at Sandwich and Silverstone Grand Prix are also expected to see attendances raised above the previously anticipated limits.

They will all come under the Government’s Events Research Programme, and involve the expanded trialling of the NHS App and lateral flow tests to demonstrate a person’s Covid status.

The All England Club was among a number of sports body signatories to a letter calling on Whitehall to use health passports or something similar to allow more fans in this summer.

One shop had a bucket filled with tennis balls with two plastic legs stuck out of it in a humorous nod to the tournament

Other rules for Wimbledon (a shop in the town decorating ahead of the tournament, pictured) include the mandatory wearing of face coverings in all areas, expect when eating or drinking

Wimbledon’s singles matches begin on Monday, June 28. The doubles draws then kick off on June 30 – with mixed doubles not starting until July 2. Pictured: Some Wimbledon-themed window art

A tennis themed display is put up at a bar in Wimbledon, as preparations are underway for the Wimbledon tennis tournament

Window art reading ‘anyone for tennis?’ has been put on display in a pub in Wimbledon ahead of the tournament

A pedestrian passes a restaurant in Wimbledon with a tennis window display on show as preparations for the tournament continue 

In Wimbledon’s case it means that around 20,000 spectators per day will be allowed in for most of the tournament, while the Centre Court will be full for the singles and doubles finals played over the weekend of July 10 and 11.

An All England Club spokesperson said: ‘We are pleased to have worked closely with the Government, public health bodies, and our local authority in Merton, to confirm that The Championships 2021 will begin on Monday 28 June with 50 per cent capacity across the Grounds, building to full capacity crowds of 15,000 on Centre Court for the Finals weekend.’

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: ‘We want to gather further evidence on how we can open up all big events safely, and for good. The expansion of trials of the NHS App and lateral flow testing will mean that bigger crowds will be able to attend a limited number of major sporting and cultural events early this summer as part of our Events Research Programme.

A view of the All England Lawn Tennis Club where preparations for this year’s tournament are continuing

‘In the next few weeks this means more fans enjoying the Euros and Wimbledon, and some of our biggest cultural and sports events.’

It follows reports that Wimbledon fans were left feeling ‘absolutely gutted’ after Ticketmaster cancelled their tickets because they breached a strict limit on credit card use.

Lucy Rayner thought she and her family had secured a pair of tickets for number one court on July 8, then a pair for ladies’ finals day, and finally a pair for men’s finals day.

But five days later Ticketmaster sent an email cancelling her purchase. ‘It was gutting,’ she told BBC News.  

Her family has accidentally breached a strict rule against buying more than two tickets using the same credit card.

They said the rules were not made clear enough, while others complained it wasn’t mentioned in the 9,000-word long Terms and Conditions page.

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